The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) foreign minister said here Wednesday that his country will continue supporting the Somali people in their fight against maritime piracy at the third UAE counter-piracy conference.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that in 2012, his government pledged 50 million US dollars to the Somali government in support for economic and security projects.
"Only economic progress and political stability in Somalia can further reduce piracy in the Gulf of Aden and secure international trade on international waters," said the minister.
He urged the participating states of the conference "to send a clear message that piracy will be fought by the international community."
The third UAE counter-piracy conference, focused on regional public-private partnerships, started Wednesday in Dubai with the participation of 500 delegates from over 50 countries as well as the UN and the International Maritime Organization.
The conference, under the theme of "countering maritime piracy: continued efforts for regional capacity building," was inaugurated by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The Gulf state is home to Dubai Ports World, the world's third biggest port operator with a vital economic interest in safe seas.
While pirate attacks have significantly dropped in the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean, there are still a reported 57 seafarers held hostage by Somali pirates.
The cost of piracy to the global economy is estimated at around 6 billion US dollars in 2012, according to the UAE government.
Yemen's Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Al-Qerbi told Xinhua on the sidelines of the conference that the situation in the Gulf of Aden has improved significantly since the political progress in Somalia started in August 2012 to end the civil war which started in 1991.
Al-Qerbi said while he is happy with the promised support by the oil-rich Gulf states, he hopes "that the money would be really spent soon."
Somali news leader